At their meeting at the Mary Alley Municipal Building Thursday night, the Marblehead Conservation Commission unanimously approved a request to erect an osprey nesting pole at the Goldthwait Reservation.
Appearing before commission members Thursday were local residents Charles Ives and Christian Schluter, who presented plans to install a 20-foot tall platform for the raptors to nest on.
What's an osprey?
An osprey, sometimes referred to as a sea hawk, is a large predatory bird with a wingspan slightly smaller than that of an eagle. The osprey eats primarily live fish, but will dine on an occasional rodent here and there.
"I've seen these a number of times over the years," Ives said. "Some of these nests are populated year-round but the majority have birds that leave the area for the winter months."
If the Goldthwait perch attracts an osprey to Marblehead, Ives said it will have company in the immediate area.
According to Ives, there's an active osprey nest off of Salem Harbor near the recently-purchased Lead Mills property.
Ives said he has already discussed the perch with several abutting neighbors and Goldthwait officials and was pleased to report that the response has gotten so far has been "enthusiastic."
All that is required for the perch is a 30-foot cedar beam, which will be buried about eight feet down into the ground in a marshy area near the "beach end" of the property.
All of the construction will be done by hand and the perch will have no environmental impact.
Although commission members endorsed the project Thursday night, Ives pointed out that acquiring a 30-foot cedar beam is proving hard than he initially expected and it may be several months before he can get his hands on one.
The pole is expected to be put in sometime in the spring, Ives said.